The world is changing every single day and so are the complexities of life. Every day we wake up to different realities and new challenges waiting for us on our doorsteps. People are questioning God; they are questioning religions to find out the truth of their existence and they desperately seek answers. No wonder schools, universities and colleges are trying their best to answer some of them but many of them remain unanswered.
Religion has become a personal matter for people. Everyone wants to explore it in their ways but at the end of the day, they seek something concrete to resolve their confusion. And religious institutions are providing that platform and are trying their best to keep people connected to God, to impart moral education and to teach people the right way to question.
I could have never understood the real purpose and relevance of religious institutions, had I not experienced them myself. The people of Haihama, one of the fore flung areas of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, cannot deny the fact that they have changed for good ever since the establishment of a religious institution, Darul Uloom Hamdania, here.
Haihama was a backward area when it came to religious knowledge. People didn’t know how to pray or how to do the last rituals of the dead ones or how to read the Quran. And it’s impossible to understand Islam without understanding the teachings of the Quran first. People were ignorant and the worst part was, they didn’t know they are living in ignorance. Then one day, a resident of Haihama, a student of Darul Uloom Rahimia, Moulana Ghulam Qadir Shah, started a religious school, from a small building and his one action changed everything. In that small building, he started imparting religious knowledge to desirous students who then became the pillars of that institute. People started to support his efforts and within no time this Darul Uloom became a well-known institute. More and more students were enrolled. They established small madrasas in every village where kids and adults learned the basics of Islam. People realized how wrong they had been doing things and corrected them. It’s not just about correcting religious practices, they became more human and learned morals and manners.
People now know how to question. The small building is no longer small. People played their part and contributed a lot to develop the institute as they saw the benefits it was providing. Now, a few more buildings have been constructed with decent infrastructure and better facilities and they are now planning to establish a separate building for girls as well.
Maybe this institute is not big enough, maybe it has less appeal and maybe it cannot accommodate as many students as the other reputed religious institutions of Kashmir, but every year, it gives a few students to society who play a major role in ending the darkness and eradicating evils which alone is a huge success for its founder, who fought hard to give this Darul Uloom a recognition. He never lost faith in himself and stood firm on his good motives. He rejected a job offer and a decent salary and kept working day and night for the betterment of this society. This Darul Uloom has made a difference in how people perceive God, which is a great achievement. Qadir Sahab, as we call him, is a good example of how small actions can lead to big achievements.
This Darul Uloom has been promoting respect, contributing to an understanding of history and culture and developing personal well-being and happiness. Thanks to this institute, I am closer to God and know how to understand my religion. I think that is what the purpose of these institutions is – to make people reflect on their actions, save humanity in a world full of selfishness and most of all give people a slight understanding of themselves.